Sabrina Victor

Miss Massachusetts USA 2020 Brings Her Hair and Haitian Pride to the Stage

"When I cut my hair off it was a spur-of-the-moment decision and I wasn't really thinking about how it would affect me pageant-wise"

Courtesy Sabrina K. Victor

Brockton native Sabrina K. Victor recaps for NBC10 Boston her 2020 Miss USA experience and shares why it's so important her to apologetically embrace the complexities of being a Black woman.

This transcript has been lightly edited. Watch the full interview above.

NBC10 Boston: Growing up in a Haitian household, how were you able to break from the traditional expectations around career options and get in to the world of pageantry?

As Haitians we've experienced a lot of turmoil, the country itself. Fun fact: Haiti was the first Black republic to gain its independence in 1804, but there's just still so much that the country deals with in terms of its infrastructure and its government and getting the necessary resources that it needs to provide for its citizens to give them proper health care and proper education. I'm a huge advocate for uplifting my country.

I love being Haitian and I think it's important that I represent my heritage on the Miss USA stage… As a first-generation American I have so much respect for immigrants. My mother emigrated to this country. I just wanted to make sure that I was uplifting my culture and that I was showing people that I am proud to be Haitian, and they should be proud to be Haitian as well. There should be no shame in it.

In September of this year, the House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act, which ban hair discrimination. What was the decision-making process for you to wear your natural hair?

I went natural three years ago and I started my pageant journey five years ago. When I cut my hair off it was a spur-of-the-moment decision and I wasn't really thinking about how it would affect me pageant-wise. I just did it. Everyone was shocked and confused... I placed third runner up in the Massachusetts USA 2019 pageant and [my mother] speculated that that was the reason I didn't win. I said no, I didn't win because it wasn't my time to win because the queen who did win, it was her moment and she deserved to win.

I'm grateful we have this piece of legislation that is calling for an end to discrimination in the workplace, and whatever avenues that we want to take where we should be able to wear our natural hair comfortably.

What's next for Miss Massachusetts USA 2020?

A lot of people have been asking if I'm going to continue in pageantry and to that I just say, stay tuned, see what happens next, because I don't even know where tomorrow is going to take me... I love pageantry and it's a lot of work and a lot of time and energy. It's basically its own full-time job when you enter that world. I had a great time doing it but I also have a lot of other ventures. I want to go back to college next fall for an MFA acting program [at Columbia University]. I want to continue my training and make sure that I can help do whatever I can to help diversify the film and entertainment industry. I don't know where that will lead me in terms of my pageant journey but we'll wait and we'll see.

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